Forum on the Parthenon Marbles Repatriation Debate

A debate led by graduate students in Greek and Roman Art in Constructions of Identity. Free and open to the public!

Date & Time:

Wednesday, May 8, 2019
6:00 PM - 7:00 PM



Iversen Hearth Room (ASC 340)

A group of St. Thomas graduate art history students and Dr. Vanessa Rousseau, in partnership with the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) are taking sides on April 17th. Join us for an evening of debate and light refreshments and help us answer the question: To whom do the Parthenon Marbles rightly belong?

You might be wondering, “What are the Parthenon Marbles?”

The Parthenon Marbles are a group of marbles removed from the Parthenon starting in 1803 by Thomas Bruce, Lord of Elgin and ambassador to the Ottoman Sultan, and the painter Giovanni Battista Lusieri. The pair claimed their actions were legitimate under a vaguely worded firman, or writ of permission, issued by Sultan Selim III. They also claimed that the marbles were safer in British hands, having been ravaged by war and looting during the Ottoman occupation of Greece.

Greece gained their independence in 1832, and launched their most serious call for repatriation of the marbles from 1981-1989 under the direction of then Greek Minister of Culture Melina Mercouri. The Greeks claim the marbles as a part of their cultural identity and question the ethics of Lord Elgin’s actions, as neither the Ottomans nor Elgin asked for Greek consent. They built a modern museum for the marbles and other treasures of the Athenian Acropolis in 2009 in anticipation of the marbles’ return. To date, the British Museum, which purchased the marbles from Lord Elgin in 1816, has denied this notion

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